HANOVER, Ind. – The Hanover men's soccer team will open the new season this weekend with a pair of matches.
Opening the 2018 campaign will be a road contest at DePauw (Ind.) Friday, Aug. 31. The Panthers and Tigers are slated for a 7 p.m. start. Hanover will then welcome Thomas More (Ky.) to campus for a 1 p.m. match, Sunday, Sept. 2.
2017 RECAP: The Panthers are coming off their third consecutive double-digit win season, posting a 12-4-2 overall record in 2017, including a 7-1-1 mark in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play. Hanover qualified for the HCAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed but fell on penalty kicks to Rose-Hulman in the semifinals. The Blue and Red are 40-15-5 over the past three seasons, a .708 winning percentage.
PRESEASON POLL: With two total conference championships over the past three seasons, the league head coaches have once again projected the Panthers to be near the top again this fall. Hanover received one first place vote and 79 total points to place second in the HCAC preseason poll. Defending champion, Transylvania, garnered the additional nine first place votes and 91 total points for the top spot. Rose-Hulman, who HC has faced in each of the past three conference tournaments, rounded out the top three with 78 points. More information regarding the preseason poll can be found at the link above.
PANTHER PREP FOR 2018 SEASON: Hanover has challenged itself prior to the start of the 2018 campaign, squaring off against a pair of NCAA Division II institutions in exhibition matches. The Panthers opened the slate against Bellarmine (Ky.) before facing Indianapolis (Ind.) this past weekend. Both the Knights and Greyhounds are projected to finish in the top half of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) this fall.
SCORING OFFENSE: The Blue and Red possessed one of the more potent offenses in the country last season, scoring 2.33 goals per outing. The scoring performance was good enough to lead the HCAC and rank among the top 60 in NCAA Division III. Three of Hanover's top four point-scorers are back this season, including senior Tanner Korfhagen (Cincinnati, Ohio), who tallied seven goals and 15 points in 2017.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: The Panthers have been known to roster a few international student-athletes in recent years and 2018 will be no different. Currently, Hanover has eight players from a foreign country on its roster, including sophomore Renato Yostui (Sao Jose Do Rio Preto, Brazil), who posted seven points, two goals and three assists, in his first campaign with the Blue and Red.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: Hanover and DePauw will meet for the 18th time as the Tigers currently boast a 16-0-1 record all-time against the Panthers. Hanover suffered a 2-0 season-opening setback at home last season. DePauw finished 2017 6-6-4 overall and have been picked to finish fifth in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) this fall.
Thomas More, a 2017 NCAA Division III National Tournament qualifier, produced a 14-5-2 overall mark last season. The Saints, who won the President Athletic Conference (PAC) championships last year, did drop a 3-1 decision at home to Hanover.
UP NEXT: Hanover will return to the road after hosting Thomas More Sunday afternoon. The Panthers are scheduled to compete in the Fred Myers-Adidas Challenge in Columbus, Ohio next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7 and 8. Capital (Ohio) and Ohio Wesleyan will be the hosts for the two matches.
Contact: Tyler Jester